Q-commerce vs e-commerce - what’s the difference?

Posted on 13/12/2021 by Łukasz Kolczyński

Quick commerce is a new business model. Fast purchases and almost instant delivery. We compare both models, check if it is the right solution for you.

Recently, the terms “q-commerce” or “quick-commerce” have been added to the long list of trendy business abbreviations as a variant of “e-commerce.” What is this all about?

In the case of b2c model online sales solutions, customers often select goods from one assortment list, specify the method of delivery, provide the delivery address and select a payment method. Once payment has been made, the logistics center receives an internal order to fill the order (completing the goods, packing them, registering the shipment with a courier company, the courier collects the package and delivers it within - 1-2 business days). This is, of course, a strongly simplified model. Still, businesses are often centralized (one central warehouse), and completing an order may take one day in the best-case scenario.

Q as in Quick Commerce is a model in which goods or services are delivered faster, even within half an hour. This often occurs in the restaurant or e-grocery sectors (delivering food or household products). In this approach, the process of completing orders is localized, and the supplier’s infrastructure is frequently dispersed (a restaurant chain or small warehouses). When placing an order, customers need to specify the delivery address, which in turn results in assigning it to the appropriate point of sale. It is also possible to inform customers that delivery is not possible if they are located outside a given delivery radius. If the customers are within the radius, the entire process is completed in the quickest time possible, and customers are often able to check the delivery status in real-time, including the courier’s current location.

A table showing a summary of the specific steps of completing orders:

process element

traditional e-commerce process

Fast q-commerce process 

assortment

one product base from the central warehouse 

assortment from a selected point of sale, product availability may vary in different points of sale

completion time

1-2 business days

from several minutes to several hours

price list

one global price list

price lists may vary at different points of sale

scope of services

usually the entire country or several countries (according to the courier company’s services)

the delivery area determined by a specific distance from a given point of sale  It is possible that the customer's address may not be supported.

tracking service implementation

Information on completion and then tracking the delivery on the courier company’s website 

detailed information on the order status, the courier’s location is sometimes shared

hours for placing orders

at any time

determined by the point of sale’s hours of operation, or on the following day

delivery

by a courier in the traditional model (next day delivery)

by a delivery company or by the company’s own fleet of drivers (same day delivery)


How does the above model translate into the requirements of the IT system:

  • integration with GIS services (the need to provide a precise delivery address, automatic address matching, geocoding and anti-geocoding are used)  - > link to information on GIS
    • often providing the service address takes place at the beginning of the process
    • linking the location with the point of sale by means of verifying the delivery area
  • orders in the context of a selected point of sale
    • assortment, product availability and local price list for a point of sale
    • delivery hours set for a point of sale
    • placed orders are sent to a local point of sale
  • electronic payment is often configured to the local point of sale’s account (merchant configuration)
  • Order status tracking
    • Drivers delivering purchased goods frequently have a mobile application that sends their current location, enabling the end client to track them

Qcommerce is clearly valuable for geographically dispersed organizations. It is worth adding that some organizations use franchising as a growth model. In the franchising model, the local point of sale belongs to the franchisee who acts as a partner in a larger organization. In such cases, the q-commerce platform must support appropriate data isolation so that franchisees saw only their orders and had a limited impact on the configuration of data such as assortment. 

Check our services, we do both - eCommerce solutions and Q-commerce solutions

Photo credits - Upgrid/Placematic